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As Allen Ginsberg talks about his life and art, his most famous poem is illustrated in animation while the obscenity trial of the work is dramatized.


(written for the screen by), (written for the screen by)
2 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Todd Rotondi ...
Heather Klar ...
Kaydence Frank ...
Allen's Girlfriend (as Kadance Frank)
Joe Toronto ...
Nancy Spence ...


It's San Francisco in 1957, and an American masterpiece is put on trial. Howl, the film, recounts this dark moment using three interwoven threads: the tumultuous life events that led a young Allen Ginsberg to find his true voice as an artist, society's reaction (the obscenity trial), and animation that echoes the poem's surreal style. All three coalesce in hybrid that dramatizes the birth of a counterculture. Written by Sundance Film Festival

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Obscenity Trial That Started a Revolution. The Poem That Rocked a Generation.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual content including language and images, and for some drug material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

27 August 2010 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Uivo  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$51,185 (USA) (24 September 2010)


$617,334 (USA) (4 February 2011)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Shot in 14 days around New York City in March/April 2009. See more »


[first lines]
Allen Ginsberg: "Howl" for Carl Salomon. I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix, angel-headed hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night...
[continues reading but unheard, credits roll]
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Referenced in Doppio urlo (2015) See more »


Forever Hers
Written by Eddie Waltman
Coconut Bay Music (BMI)
Courtesy of Manhattan Production Music
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User Reviews

21 June 2010 | by (Austin, TX) – See all my reviews

Howl was an interesting look into the life of Allen Ginsberg. The movie was mainly about the trial that questioned whether or not Ginsberg's poem, "Howl" was too obscene. However, there were brief bits where James Franco as Ginsberg was being interviewed about his personal life.

I felt that the animations that were displayed during the reading of the poem made the poem more powerful and clear. The contrasts between the beautiful imagery of the poem and the scenes of the tense trial were great. The trial scenes were very powerful, and the actors that played the witnesses (namely Mary Louise-Parker and Jeff Daniels), did a really great job creating believable characters.

I loved the film and Franco did a great job portraying Allen Ginsberg.

33 of 46 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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